"I smoke to control my weight"
While there is no debate but that nicotine is a central nervous system stimulant that makes the body work harder, recent research questions the belief that smoking controls weight gain.
What follows is a finding from a 2010 study which followed 7,565 individuals for 50 months:
"In our study, participants who smoked at baseline and were still smoking at follow-up had a greater weight gain than those who had never smoked; a finding consistent with an American nurses cohort study." [Link to free full-text copy of this study]
If nicotine is a stimulant that makes the heart pound 10 to 20 beats per minute faster, how can that be? Clearly stimulation burns calories. The answer may lie in smoking's downside, that one-half of the carbon monoxide from that last puff is still circulating inside the smoker's bloodstream four hours later, robbing their blood of its oxygen carrying capacity.
How many smokers are able to engage in prolonged periods of vigorous physical activity? How many smokers run in the local annual 10k race? They're rather rare and likely pay a substantial price. Is it fair to say that chemical dependency upon smoking nicotine generally promotes a less healthy lifestyle?
While I tried to convince myself that I was standing outside in the rain or cold in order to get some fresh air, the 3,500 chemical particles and more than 500 gases I inhaled with each puff screamed otherwise. It wasn't unusual to see me smoking during bike-rides or walks.
Although normal for new quitters to turn to additional food as a dopamine replacement crutch for missing stimulation due to nicotine's absence, understanding why creates options that include eating lower calorie or healthy foods, additional temporary physical activity that results in greater calorie burning, or non-fattening forms of dopamine stimulation such as accomplishment or a cool glass of water.
It can take up to 21 days after ending all nicotine use for dopamine pathway receptors to down-regulate to natural levels and restore sensitivities seen in non-smokers. Imagine gifting your bloodstream the ability to transport so much oxygen that walking up four flights of stairs no longer leaves you winded. Imagine at last having the ability to build cardiovascular endurance and transform your body into any shape you desire.
Yes, we can continue to chemically stimulate this body into burning calories or experience the freedom to stimuate it ourselves. But let's not kid ourselves, if we choose smoking nicotine we're also chosing a roughly 50% chance of losing an average of 13 to 14 years of life expectancy (rates for males and females respectively). What sense does it make to worry about body weight when the prices is 5,000 sunrises?
Millions of words here in Freedom's hundreds of thousands of posts but just one guiding principle determining which side of the bars we'll spend the balance of life ... no nicotine just one hour, challenge and day at a time!
Breathe deep, hug hard, live long,
John (Gold x10)
Effect of smoking on body weight:
longitudinal analysis of the SUN cohort.
Journal: Rev Esp Cardiol. 2010 Jan; Volume 63(1), Pages 20-27.
Authors: Basterra-Gortari FJ, Forga L, Bes-Rastrollo M, Toledo E, Martínez JA, Martínez-González MA.
Departamento de Medicina Preventiva y Salud Pública, Universidad de Navarra, Clínica Universitaria, Navarra, Spain.
INTRODUCTION AND OBJECTIVES: Our aim was to investigate prospectively the association between two major cardiovascular risk factors: smoking and weight gain.
METHODS: We prospectively evaluated 7565 individuals taking part in a dynamic cohort study over a median follow-up period of 50 months. Self-reported weight and physical activity levels had been validated previously. The adjusted mean difference in weight gain relative to never-smokers (the reference group) was estimated for different levels of tobacco exposure.
RESULTS: After adjusting for age, baseline body mass index, sedentary lifestyle, changes in physical activity level, total energy intake, fiber intake, food consumption between meals, and sugary soft drink, fast food and alcohol consumption, it was found that individuals who stopped smoking during follow-up had a greater relative weight gain: men 1.63 kg (95% confidence interval [CI], 1.07-2.19 kg), and women 1.51 kg (95% CI, 1.11-1.91 kg). In addition, active smokers had a greater weight gain than never-smokers: men 0.49 kg (95% CI, 0.11-0.87 kg), and women 0.36 kg (95% CI, 0.07-0.65 kg).
CONCLUSIONS: Individuals who stopped smoking during follow-up and active smokers both experienced significantly greater weight gains than never-smokers. This association between cardiovascular risk factors should be taken into account when developing prevention programs.
Scroll down to Day 6 and listen to Joel's lesson on
"Weight Control Concerns After Quitting Smoking"
Joel's Library Articles
Minimizing the Weight Gained From Smoking Cessation